Note from Rep. Gara: The Unspecial Session: A Solution Requires A Radical Political Concept – Talking Without Lines In The Sand. And An Engaged Governor.

I’ve done my best these past two weeks to share what I learned as an attorney who started my career on a very contentious case – representing the State in its civil prosecution of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill case. Sticking your heels in the mud and drawing lines in the sand doesn’t end disputes – this one’s over the budget. We settled the state’s case with Exxon for $1 billion in 1991 – though the major damages were suffered by individuals who brought their own cases – and by not talking Exxon used its obstinance and power to drag that case out for two decades.

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Legislators Call on Oil Group to Acknowledge Rising Oil and Gas Employment

[Press Release from Sen. FRENCH, Sen. EGAN, Rep. GARA]
JUNEAU- In its latest numbers, the Department of Labor has contradicted claims by the Governor and oil industry members that Alaska oil and gas jobs are in decline. The department confirmed that oil and gas jobs rose to 12,900 employees in March, a 5% increase since last year. But data from the Department of Labor also shows that over 50% of the new jobs on the North Slope are going to workers who live outside Alaska.

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Foster Care Month this May

Foster Care Advocates Call For More Donated Computers, Mentors

Representative Les Gara, Amanda Metivier coordinator of Facing Foster Care in Alaska, along with other foster care advocates held a press conference in Anchorage today to kick off Foster Care Month.

Other participants included: Diana Bline, Director of Program Services at Covenant House; Nicholas McMillan, Anchorage Director of Programs for Big Brothers Big Sisters; Travis Erickson, Acting Child Welfare Administrator for the Alaska Office of Children’s Services; Becca Shier, Statewide Representative with Facing Foster Care in Alaska; and Angel Gonzales and Kaylee Day, Peer Mentor Trainers with Covenant House.

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House Democrats Propose Common-Sense Solution to Budget Impasse

All parties should stand down and work together in good faith

JUNEAU – Today, Alaska House Democrats announced a simple, common-sense solution to the budget stand-off that has the Legislature locked into a special session.

“We have a way out of this mess. It isn’t all that complicated,” said Representative Beth Kerttula, House Minority Leader. “We say this without blame and in the spirit of being helpful.”

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Note from Rep. Les Gara: Good News For Seniors, College Aid, Possible Please Please End To Special Session Impasse

I know you’re frustrated, and I’ve been incredibly frustrated, that we are in an extended session. But It seems like an end to the impasse may be near. So I won’t mention at all that I’d rather be in the middle of a fishing stream than in the middle of an extended session squabble. I will mention – for those of you who believe in needs-based financial aid so people can afford college and vocational education – that today we made some significant progress.

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